MOVING ON: Former James Nash principal Darrin Edwards (left) gives thanks to the Gympie community for the wonderful 12 years he spent here with his family (from left) Quinn, Sally and Lahni.
MOVING ON: Former James Nash principal Darrin Edwards (left) gives thanks to the Gympie community for the wonderful 12 years he spent here with his family (from left) Quinn, Sally and Lahni.

Principal's heartfelt goodbye to quintessential country town

Open letter to Gympie

AFTER an amazing 12 years in Gympie as principal of James Nash State High School, I have accepted the opportunity to be executive principal at Mountain Creek State High School on the Sunshine Coast.

I wanted to express my appreciation firstly to the students, staff and parents of James Nash State High School over the past 12 years for their support but also to the wider Gympie community for providing me with such a wonderful place to raise my family.

I have been so happy to see my own children educated in Gympie and to witness them enjoy the amazing opportunities that have been made available to myself, my wife and especially my children.

Our family has benefited from opportunities at so many sporting clubs and associations, from cultural opportunities such as bands, troupes, theatres and from fantastic schools.

Gympie is still a quintessential country town living there for the past 12 years was one of our best decisions.

It was my goal as principal of James Nash to ensure that all students in Gympie, whether they be at James Nash or any of the other great schools in Gympie, have the same educational opportunities as students anywhere in Australia.

While I am immensely proud of James Nash, I am equally proud of the educational infrastructure that we have brought to Gympie, by working with my colleagues in schools, government and industries across Gympie. The collaboration between schools across all sectors, primary, secondary, government, independent or Catholic, is unique to any other community I have worked in and has seen this collaboration bring fantastic opportunity to our town.

I am proud of the work done with local, state and federal stakeholders over many years to build a business case to persuade and influence the University of the Sunshine Coast to establish a campus in Gympie.

It was again through close collaboration between schools and government that we built the business case and invited the Edmund Rice Foundation to establish their flexible learning centre in Gympie.

Most recently, again through a partnership between all the secondary schools in Gympie, we successfully bid for funding to build the Gympie Trade Training Centre. The common thread with all these developments has been a willingness for schools to put historical barriers aside and work together to ensure the students of Gympie gained opportunities that would otherwise not be available.

Gympie is an amazing town and I will remain connected with the many friends we have met while living there. I hope people continue to look at all the positive things that make Gympie such a lovely place to raise a family because it was all these factors that keep us choosing to live, work and play in Gympie.

I feel fortunate to have worked with an amazing staff at James Nash and to have had the support of the parent community of James Nash. Working together we saw the school receive accreditation as an International School in 2010 and became an Independent Public School in 2013.

While the school has received a host of awards and commendations over the past 12 years, to witness the outstanding results from the school's 2017 Year 12 graduates (nine OP 1 or OP 1 equivalents) is the icing on what has been a wonderful 12 years.

I am proud of the culture around learning that is so strong in the school and of the positive relationships that exist between students, staff and parents across the school community.

Thank you for your support of education in Gympie and I will always keep an active interest in Gympie and its future developments.

Darrin Edwards,

Sunshine Coast


Little Haven worthy of our full support

DURING a "retro read” of The Gympie Times (December 20) I was touched by the Arthur Gorrie article headed "Small engines with big hearts for Christmas”.

It was the story of the donation of $2253 worth of mowing and gardening equipment (by Billy Fernie, of Bevan's Small Engines) to be raffled in aid of Little Haven Palliative Care.

Mr Fernie's generous gesture was prompted by the care provided by the Little Haven volunteers during his dad's long illness and eventual death from cancer and the memory of the care provided to his dying grandparents some years ago.

It is a story that could be truthfully told by hundreds of Gympie residents.

The most moving part of the story was Mr Fernie's sensitivity to the repeated grief endured by the Little Haven volunteers who inevitably lose the patients for whom they care - and who have become their friends.

I was reminded of a recent article in this paper in which Mayor Curran asserted the importance of all levels of government working together to achieve results.

I cannot think of a community resource more deserving of that effort than Little Haven. It is to be hoped our council would take the lead.

As a community we should make a concerted effort to multiply the value of Mr Fernie's donation by making the pilgrimage to the Mount - the Mount Pleasant Hotel that is - where tickets are on sale at $2 each.

Merv Welch,

The Palms

Gympie Times

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